LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (0-1) vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY COLONELS (1-0)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Cardinal Stadium
Television: ACC Network Extra
Announcers: Shawn Kenney and John Gregory
Favorite: Louisville by 20.5
All-Time Series: Louisville leads, 18-8-1
Only Meeting: Louisville won 44-7 on Sept. 7, 2013 at Cardinal Stadium
Louisville Depth Chart:
About Eastern Kentucky:
Scott Satterfield has built up some goodwill on Monday night when his team went out and competed for the full game against Notre Dame. On Saturday, he’ll have to show fans that he and his staff can make adjustments and improve from game to game. Bryan Brown’s defense gave up a substantial amount of rushing yards and he will have the perfect opponent to fix those issues this weekend in Eastern Kentucky.
The EKU offense is very run heavy as they ran the ball over 500 times last year while only throwing it 290 times. Conor Blount will start at quarterback for the Colonels after completing about half of his passes last week. Blount is a transfer from Oregon State where he walked on but saw game action last season. Blount can run a bit but left a lot to be desired passing the ball last week against a bad Valparaiso team. Louisville should be able to contain him while ironing out some issues they had against Ian Book on Monday.
The EKU running game is the focus of the offense with two running backs that averaged well over 15 yards per carry each last week. Daryl McClesky will get the start with Andrew Booth coming in to spell him. McClesky had a good game last week as the smaller and quicker back of the duo but Booth went off for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns. Booth is 250 pounds and I think he runs pretty well for that size. Louisville might not have issues with the Colonel offense but they will have an opportunity to take on the challenge of tackling a big running back.
The EKU receivers didn’t make an impact last week and I think Louisville will have an opportunity to play more aggressively in the secondary this week. Matt Wilcox is the only receiver to average double figures in yards per catch last week and he’s likely the most talented receiver on the roster. Wilcox started his career at Bowling Green State before heading to Independence College and appearing on Last Chance U last year. BK Smith and Jaelin Carter will both be playing in front of their hometown crowd but I don’t expect either to be real threats.
The Colonels run the ball a ton but they will spread the field with their formations. The offensive line plays in space with the width of the offense and has to block in that space. The line has good size with the majority of the starters being 300 pounds or more. I think Louisville should see some success with their disruptive scheme. The line doesn’t seem to move all too well and could have a lot of problems with the quickness UofL has up front.
Eastern Kentucky’s football team has to feel good about how they played against Valparaiso last weekend but they will face a much tougher team with Louisville. EKU shut down the Valpo offense last week allowing only 1.5 yards per run. They will have to find a way to get penetration this weekend to slow down Louisville’s running game.
The front for EKU mixes a couple of smaller guys who can run at the ends with bigger guys in the middle. The line combined for four tackles for loss last week with Aaron Patrick getting 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Louisville has to avoid giving up the penetration plays that the Cards defense relies on. If Patrick and Tre Turner can get into the backfield and disrupt things, the Louisville offense will end up out of balance.
The linebackers are the best group for EKU. Steven Crowder is the best of the group after finishing second on the team in tackles last year. He started this season with three tackles for loss and a sack. Corey Glass led the team in tackles last week and returned a fumble for a touchdown. The Cards could look to find some success in the short passing game this week with these linebackers being used to support the run so much.
The defensive backs got most of the day off last weekend so there’s not a lot to know about the group. The starters combined for a few tackles and one pass breakup because Valpo ran the ball most of the game in hopes to just get out of the game without injury, I guess. EKU did hold the offense to just 7-19 passing with 61 of the 119 yards passing coming on one play. The safeties for the defense returned this year after good seasons but both corners were backups last season. This will be a good opportunity for Louisville to work on the issues they had in the passing game on Monday.
Game Day Guide:
—This will be the first game for new Cardinal fanatic Virginia Elizabeth Rutherford, who was born on Sept. 5. She’s also the reason this post will be so short and missing several sections.
—Louisville has won 17 consecutive games against FCS opponents.
—Louisville is 93-51-3 all-time versus FCS schools, including a 34-17-1 record versus current members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
—Louisville’s last loss to an FCS opponent came in 1985 against Eastern Kentucky.
—Louisville redshirt freshman Javian Hawkins carried a career high 19 times for 122 yards last week against Notre Dame, becoming the first Louisville freshman running back to rush for over 100 yards versus an FBS team since Darius Ashley tallied 164 yards against West Virginia in 2009.
—Eastern Kentucky’s 46-point win over Valparaiso last week was the biggest win for the Colonels against a Division-I team since 2005.
—Eastern Kentucky was picked to finish third in the preseason Ohio Valley conference coaches poll. The Colonels return 18 starters from 2018, and have won five consecutive games dating back to last season.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 238 games dating back to a 31-0 loss to Florida State during the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
—Louisville is 183-13 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 5-113 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 34, Eastern Kentucky 17